Day 10, Gulmarg
After 10 days of continuous powder seeking and skiing, a welcomed rest day. With a combination of long resort runs, and extended back bowls coupled with amazing cultural experiences, its nice to take a rest and soak it all in. We have had clear beautiful days with views of the distant Himalaya. Nanga Parbat (the 8th highest mountain) oversees our travels and provides an beautiful landscape where ever we go. For the past 10 days we’ve had a couple of snow showers but not the typical dumps that Gulmarg is known for. That is all about to change tomorrow. 2 meters of snow are expected for the next three days. The snowpack remains unstable but hopefully enough load will refresh the entire area with deep stable snow.
We have been taking advantage of the clear long days by taking extended tours. Each morning we are given box lunches that sustain us for the entire day. We venture just off the beaten path to seldom traveled areas. Each day, my guest and I see terrain that many of the ski tourists will never see. Long bowls of fresh powder in all directions. Yesterday, we ski toured down to the local village of Drang. We are greeted by curious children and hardened women who keep the Kashmir valley in line. While the men congregate in Gulmarg in search of the tourist dollar, the women care for the home, feed the kids and take care of the livestock. It is a somewhat rare sight to share stories with the women of Kashmir.
Again, I am reminded of the incredible opportunity that skiing has provided for the people of this valley. It has transformed this otherwise quiet and uneventful winter into a mecca for traveling powder seekers, which in turn brings more money and opportunity to the people.
To many people of India and the developing world, skiing is a foreign thought or luxurious lifestyle. While to the people of Kashmir it is a life sustaining necessity.